about *soft vowel sounds*. . .
*soft vowel sounds* is the latest Oakland-based solo music project from former Bitesize guitarist-vocalist-principal songwriter Julia Serano. With *soft vowel sounds*, Julia offers a rather novel mix of deliciously percussive and dissonant guitar noises, catchy-as-hell melodies, oddly endearing vocals, and smart yet playful lyrics. While decidedly contemporary, the quirkiness and charming minimalism of *soft vowel sounds* evokes the spirit of early lo-fi recordings from artists such as Pavement, Liz Phair, Guided By Voices, Beat Happening, Sebadoh, and They Might Be Giants.
The debut *soft vowel sounds* recording, Ray versus Macbeth and the Music Box, part one, was officially released in November, 2014. It includes four songs, including the eponymous “Ray,” an amusing modern-day musical parody of the famous The Kinks’s song “Lola,” albeit written from a rather different perspective. Ray versus. . . opens up with the song “Music Box,” so called because of the percussive and harmonics-ladden guitar sound that drives it and the other songs on the record. The second song, “Open Letter,” is a majestic and moving anthem, while the third song, “Macbeth,” is a comic (or perhaps tragic!) tale about love and theatrical superstitions.
Music-wise, julia (aka, *soft vowel sounds*) is best known for her work as the singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter for the noise-pop/indie-rock band Bitesize, who from the late ‘90s through the ‘00s dazzled audiences with two-minute long pop gems filled with awkward stops and starts, weird bursts of guitar noise, back and forth vocals, quirky lyrics, and lots of jumping up and down. The band released two critically acclaimed CDs (The Best of Bitesize and Sophomore Slump), performed at high profile events (e.g., Noise Pop, North-by-Northwest, Mission Creek Music Festival, San Francisco Pride Main Stage), and received college radio airplay nationwide. Outside of her music, julia is also an author and spoken word performer - information about these other creative endeavors can be found at juliaserano.com.
so are the asterisks actually a part of the name?
No, not officially. It is perfectly fine to refer to the band as Soft Vowel Sounds - in fact, that is how it appears on many Internet sites (where artist names beginning with an asterisk are not allowed or confuse search results). The asterisks are more of an aesthetic preference with regard to artwork, etcetera.